Here are the best baby gadgets that you might not have thought about…And one that you should AVOID.
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Jump Ahead To:
1. Google Home
We thought it would be good to play lullabies or set timers.
It turns out, we use our Google Home for so many things in the nursery.
It is the first thing that we pack when we go out of town!
We use our Google Home to:
- Control the lights in the nursery (see below)
- Play white noise. We love the Womb Sounds from Help Me Sleep.
- Play lullabies for quiet time
- Play music for dance parties
2. Smart Light Bulbs
Possibly my favorite of the best baby gadgets in this post is the smart light bulbs… Brought to you by my husband!
There are tons of different types of smart lightbulbs, any will work!
We use the Kasa Smart Lightbulbs (pictures) because they were a good price, have an easy-to-use app, and can integrate with our Google Home.
Our lights were very bright and we didn’t want to deal with the hassle of installing a dimming switch or buying all-new lamps that had different brightness settings.
These lightbulbs were a lifesaver.
The feature that I loved the most was being able to schedule the lights to come on.
Our son was jaundiced and it was important that we feed him every 2 hours.
The problem is, jaundiced babies are sleepy babies, so he wouldn’t wake up to feed.
As a sleep-deprived new mom, it was REALLY hard to wake up with an alarm in the middle of the night.
What I did was schedule my light to come on every two hours through the night to help me wake up.
It worked like a charm!
If you are an Amazon household, these lightbulbs are also compatible with Alexa.
Want to know more about the best light bulbs for your nursery? Check out this post on nursery light bulbs.
3. Smart Outlet
Just like with a smart lightbulb, it is such a convenience to have your other baby gear (think humidifiers, white noise machines, swings, and rockers, etc.) on smart outlets.
You can control devices without having to disturb the baby.
These are definitely a must-have.
Just like the lightbulbs, there are many to choose from, but we like the Kasa brand (different bundle options picture below) because it works with the lightbulbs and with our Google Home (also works with Alexa).
We bought 2 and moved them around as needed.
Pro Tip: You definitely don’t have to convert all of your outlets to smart outlets. Start with 1 or 2 and go from there.
5. A Mattress Vibrator
THANK YOU, PEDIATRICIAN!!!!
We had no idea something like this existed other than in the fancy bassinets that have vibration built-in.
Our pediatrician clued us in, and this little gadget gave us hours of extra sleep.
Our son loved the vibration and it really helped him when he was suffering from gas or reflux.
We got this basic model. We loved the price, the convenience and portability, and the automatic shut-off.
6. Facebook Portal TV
We had no idea there would be a global pandemic coming, and boy we were glad to have this!
The reason we love our Facebook Portal so much is that it is hands-free video calling.
There is also some kind of magic wizardry that allows the camera to follow you no matter where you are in the room.
I loved that I could be talking to someone while playing on the floor with the baby, walking around with or bouncing the baby when he was fussy, cooking dinner, folding laundry, etc.
Let’s face it: moms, like babies, are busy!
If you have tried to do video calling from a stationary device like a computer or a cell phone, you know that it is almost impossible with a baby.
Babies don’t like to stay still, and you definitely need your hands free.
We have the Facebook Portal TV that connects directly to your TV so there is a large area that the camera can see. The Facebook Portal Go that I linked above is even better for having a little one around because it can go anywhere (on the floor, in the kitchen, in the nursery, etc.).
Pro Tip: With the portal, you can call anyone who has messenger or WhatsApp on their device, so they don’t have to have the Portal TV as well.
6. Non-Wifi Baby Monitor
Take this life lesson from me: DO NOT buy a baby monitor that REQUIRES wifi to work.
Instead, you should buy a monitor that has a local connection (no wifi needed to connect) and has a built-in backup battery in case of a power outage.
Pro Tip: Choose a split-screen baby monitor or multi-camera baby monitor so that it can grow with your family. Here are my favorite split-screen baby monitors.
The first time your internet service goes down, or your power goes out, you will be regretting your choice to go with a monitor that only works over wifi.
I bought this one… In the middle of the night… The first time that our power went out and we had a wifi-only baby monitor–eye roll here.
I loved that this VTech model has a local and remote connection. So you can view your baby from the parent screen, or from any wifi-enabled device.
A few features that are key when looking for your monitor:
- a local AND remote connection
- a backup battery charge in case of a power outage
- temperature detection (detects if the room gets too hot or cold)
One To Avoid: The Owlet
I own an Owlet. It was the only baby product that I “had to have”.
It turned out to be a waste of time, energy, and money.
Even though the reviews and opinions on the Owlet were very mixed, the Owlet offered a sense of security that I would have paid any amount of money for, as I am a very anxious and cautious mom.
The majority of the complaints stemmed from false ‘red’ (read: critical) notifications from the device.
The problem with the false notifications is that it creates panic for the parents, and in our case led to unnecessary tests and trips to the doctor.
I knew going in that false alerts were a possibility, and it was a risk I was willing to take.
The first time the alarm went off, it was the most terrified I have ever been in my whole life. I wasn’t prepared for that.
In the weeks that followed, the false alerts became more of an annoyance but created a vicious cycle of doubt as to whether the sensor was wrong, or the doctors were.
Ultimately, we stopped using the device.
That being said, at the time, even if I had read this review, I would have still bought the Owlet, because I firmly believed–and maybe I still do–that oxygen and heart-rate monitoring are essential…but there wasn’t anything else on the market.
Now that there are more options.
If you are set on buying a breathing monitor, look to other brands like the Snuza Hero Baby Monitor, Nanit Complete Monitoring System, or the Miku Smart Baby Monitor (although these don’t have a dedicated parent unit with a local connection).